It isn’t difficult for the public to see how the Cabinet reshuffle by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Tuesday can be assumed as a strategic move for him to continue to stay in power and silence his critics.
The game of perception doesn’t seem to be a top priority in Malaysian politics these days (yeah… it’s always about perception of honesty, sincerity and transparency, isn’t it?). I guess it doesn’t matter what the public thinks.
But the issue of the day hasn’t changed and that is the questions and allegations surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. What has changed is the influential people who have been critically vocal about it being dropped from their influential positions.
Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has been removed from his post as the attorney-general. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who have been very critical about 1MDB, are no longer in cabinet.
Muhyiddin had given a press conference on Wednesday morning. But it was a tame affair and he stressed that he was still an Umno member and will toe the party line when the time comes. No news from Shafie.
Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who was the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigating the allegations of 1MDB, has been made deputy home minister. He has stepped down from his position as PAC chief.
The funny thing is that Nur Jazlan had, a few weeks earlier, been asked by reporters of his thoughts of the rumours speculating that he will be called up and appointed as a member of the cabinet.
Nur Jazlan was reported to have said that he was more interested in finishing the committee’s investigation of 1MDB rather than entertaining the thought of being appointed to a Cabinet position. He wanted to prove his ability as chairperson.
Oh well, flip-flopping and non-committal tendencies are rife in politics. There’s nothing you can do about that (again the perception game comes to mind). The question now is how will the investigation on 1MDB progress from here?
Now that Nur Jazlan has relinquished his post in the PAC, he has also announced that all further proceedings by the committee will be halted until a new line-up is announced at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting.
Sure, vice-chair of the PAC, Tony Pua, has said that technically, the committee can and will continue with its investigations. He has been vocal all this while. But look what happened to him. He is barred from leaving the country.
The media’s role? Let’s see. The Edge was the one that sparked widespread interest in the 1MDB scandal, and they have been suspended from publication for three months, a decision that could be an intimidating factor for other media organisations.
It looks like all the stops are being pulled. Every game in the playbook is being used. Everything that can be done to stop any further delving into what happened to 1MDB is being done. So is this the end of the line.